New reports from the University of Alabama claim that one of the black women who was accepted into the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority during the continuous opening bidding process in 2013 spurred from Alabama’s racist pledging process is not getting the support she typically would from her sorority sisters in her run for Homecoming Queen.
As Collier Meyerson points out at Fusion, Alabama senior Amanda Bennett has written a piece at AL.com about Halle Lindsay, who “is making history as the first African American homecoming queen candidate who is a member of a Panhellenic sorority.” According to an op-ed in the Crimson White, however, alleged GroupMe screenshots leaked on Monday show sisters in her sorority discussing how they can’t support Lindsay because they’re worried about losing their standing in the Greek life social hierarchy.
“There will be so many consequences and they don’t tell you that until after you vote because everyone’s supposed to have a ‘choice,’” one of the messages read. They went on to discuss March’s SGA Presidential election, in which several Alpha Gams supported Elliot Spillers over Machine nominee Stevie Keller, and blamed that support for Mary Harmon Tyson losing the Machine nomination for Homecoming Queen to Phi Mu Katelyn Katsafanas. “If we keep going against the Machine we…will not have as many opportunities to be involved on campus,” the last message ended.
Update: The Huffington Post has published the alleged screenshots, and reached out to the women named in them; they all reportedly declined comment. One sister encouraged her fellow sisters to vote for whomever they wanted, but to say on social media that they’d be voting for Katsafanas:
it’s nothing against her cause we all love her but by social media y’all have to support the machines choice cause if not every fraternity in the machine will black ball us. so say goodbye to swaps. like we just really can’t do that to our new freshman next year. like literally we love her so much and yes we can vote for her but it’s the social media we have to show support for the machine. like i hate it too and absolute bs but we just can’t do that to new babies next year. love y’all-older active.
While it is okay to support her and vote for her if you REALLLLLLY feel called to do so, posting your support on social media is not fair to the rest of the house or future members of Alpha Gam.
The Machine is sort of secret society, a group of members of Greek organizations who push Greek candidates into power positions in the student government, ultimately feeding into Alabama government at large. According to Bennett, Lindsay is actually dating Spillers, who was the first black candidate to be elected SGA president at the University in decades, and who has received a fair amount of pushback from Machine members during his tenure, likely because of all his election has revealed about how they function.
Bennett writes that, as was the case when the issues with integration in Alabama sororities was discussed two years ago, “older members” of Alpha Gamma Delta are the ones pushing the younger members to support a Machine-approved candidate for Homecoming Queen over Lindsay. Instead of being nominated by her sisters, Lindsay received a nomination for the court from BLEND, an organization at Alabama to “promote genuine intercultural relationships,” which Lindsay helped found and was formerly president of.
The older members used the threat that Machine fraternities (often regarded as the most prestigious at the university) would refuse to participate in “swaps” (parties that pair a sorority with a fraternity) with them if the majority of Alpha Gamma Delta chose to support Lindsay.
Members of Lindsay’s sorority also voted against displaying Lindsay’s banner for homecoming queen outside their sorority house, instead choosing to display the Machine candidate’s banner.
Some of Lindsay’s sisters have been vocal about their support of her, so its hardly the case that the entire sorority is against her. But as was the situation two years ago, this appears to be yet another instance of older sorority sisters (in that situation it was alums) pressuring younger sisters, who might be more open-minded about social hierarchies, because of fear of losing their place in the cut-throat Alabama social structure.
“It is completely unacceptable for any organization to engage in intimidation and coercion in any fashion. We have worked hard to help ensure the integrity of elections held on our campus and will continue to take allegations of improper activities seriously,” a representative of the University told Fusion, as they have time and time again, the most recent instance being their response to the the hubbub over Alpha Phi’s very white sorority recruitment video.
Lindsay will find out if she’s crowned queen on Friday. In the meantime, she’s already made it into the Court.
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